Employee Engagement

Marshawn Lynch’s Secret To Increased Productivity


Marshawn Lynch has become an icon in recent years, both for his beastly athleticism on the gridiron, his unique personality off the field—and his love for Skittles year-round. But his success as an athlete (and candy spokesperson) aren’t just because he was born fast.

He’s an incredibly motivated person who has given everything he is to his discipline, taking him to the Super Bowl with Seattle, and now back to his roots as an Oakland Raider. Though, admittedly, Marshawn may not be the first person you think of when you contemplate new ways to promote productivity in the workplace. But he’s got plenty of lessons that he can teach you, and your team, to reach new heights of success and engagement.

For those fans that know him best, the man known for “beast mode” isn’t exactly talkative with the media. But in one rare interview, Marshawn gave away one of his most closely kept secrets to success: every morning, at 6:24, the football champion wakes up, does 200 push-ups, and then either goes back to sleep or gets on with his day. Seriously, that’s his big secret. And here’s why that’s all you need to know to revolutionize your team’s productivity.  

Consistency Matters

Let’s start with the basic premise of Marshawn’s habit. He gets up every day, at the same time, and does the same number of push-ups. Columnist Harvey Mackay, writing for uexpress.com, points out that if you’re not consistent about achieving the goals you set for yourself, “you will likely fall back into old habits or lose interest. Being consistent is the difference between failure and success.

The late Jim Rohn, entrepreneur and author, said: ‘Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.'” Once you’ve set your goal, the most important thing is that you stick with it—so make sure that you can back your words up with action. If you’re not going to be consistent with the goals that you set, then your team isn’t going to be consistent either. Creating a culture that truly celebrates success begins with an organization that consistently promotes best practices from top to bottom.

Start with yourself: if you want consistent results, you need to show up, at the same time, every day, and get in the work. If your team doesn’t see you putting in the work every day, they won’t receive the message that the daily grind matters. They’ll be focused on checking boxes instead of truly growing and achieving.  

Focus On Your Goal, and Achieve It

The key to Marshawn’s habit is that he’s precise about his practices.

It didn’t matter how much sleep he got the night before, he was going to wake up at 6:24 and do his push-ups. Sometimes, if he needed more sleep, he’d just go back to bed—but only after he’d hit the 200 mark. Creating good habits that you can maintain starts with planning. Two hundred certainly isn’t just an arbitrary number for this football beast.

It’s the result of years of training, testing, and endurance. The same should go for you: take the time to plan out your goals based on past results and expectations of your actual abilities. Where do you want to be a year from now? What kind of growth do you want to see come from your team in this next quarter?

Creating a goal for your daily habits comes out of a focus on those long term results. Marshawn Lynch has a desire to maintain a certain level of athleticism—a level at which he can continue to hold onto his reputation of ripping through defensive lines, and shedding linebackers like they’re featherweights. For him, that means a certain amount of strength conditioning every day. For you, achieving your long term goals means a willingness to focus on hitting certain daily goals, too.

Once you’ve got your habit down, don’t make excuses that keep you from staying consistent. Your singular focus is achieving your goal, and not letting anything—especially yourself—stand in the way. We’ll always have a good reason to put off certain tasks until tomorrow. It’s usually not very fun to grind out the grunt work. But if our focus is on the results at the end of the haul, it makes that daily grind a whole lot easier to face.  

Stick With What Works For You

What’s most important here isn’t the size of Marshawn’s goal, or the difficulty by which it comes, but rather the consistency of it.

You may see 200 push-ups as more like a goal for an entire week, not just one morning. But that’s OK: Marshawn is a professional athlete. Two-hundred push-ups probably isn’t quite as tough for him as it might be for you. And that’s the whole point: he didn’t look at other athletes and say, “I’m going to do what they’re doing.” He took a number that worked for him, and stuck with it. The same should go for you: don’t just look to hit the same numbers that someone else is hitting, set a goal that makes sense for your skill-set and your workload.

Don’t aim for 200 push-ups if the most you’ve ever done is 50. The same goes for the time he wakes up: you may not be an early bird, so setting a goal to wake up at 6:24, just because someone you look up to is doing it, is silly.

You’re just setting yourself up for failure. Go with what works for your preferences, stay in your lane, and you’ll find that those goals are much easier to consistently achieve. When you’re working within your best qualities, you’re giving yourself the chance to really succeed.

When you and your employees set simple goals, and then stick with them, you’ll be amazed at how the rest falls into place. With a goal in mind and consistent, daily practices that get you there, you have a roadmap to make your work really count every day: and that keeps you focused on what really needs to get done for you and your team to thrive.